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KA OPUO: The Clown-at-Douglas-House Has to Go

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Prof. Edward Oparaoji, USA
In recent months, I have been inundated with request to comment, but resisted until now, on the acceptability or otherwise of Governor Rochas Okorocha continuing in office. There is a well-known proverb credited to an American humorists, Will Rogers, or sometimes referred to as “Healey's Law” after British politician Denis Healey, who popularized the proverb in the 1980s which says  “If you find yourself in a hole stop digging.” In 2013, I wrote an article titled “The Clown-in-Charge at the Douglas House,” ( ) which I believe to be the genesis of the several recent requests for my thoughts on the Imo State Gubernatorial contest. On reviewing that article, I was struck how although time has passed things remained the same or got worse. Against this background, so as not to lose you when I share my final thoughts, I decided to reproduce the article. I wrote:

“In August 2011, while assessing Gov. Rochas Okorocha administration's first 100 days in office, I wrote a widely published article titled 'Rescue Mission for Rochas' in which I stated that 'The euphoria that greeted the expulsion of Ikedi Ohakim from and the election of Rochas Okorocha to the Douglas House Owerri, Imo State, on May 29, 2011, has quickly fizzled out. Replaced with bewilderment, astonishment and disbelief, as Imolites watch Rochas self-destruct.

I was unable to find any record of any leader that has sunk so precipitously in popularity, in so short a time – Not even by the standards of the dictatorships he appears to mimic!' Most defenders of Gov. Okorocha cried foul saying it was too soon to judge him, even with the very early obvious blinding clueless neon-signs showing him headed in the wrong direction.

Some of my observations then included, his wrong decisions to rescind those 10,000 jobs created by his predecessor intended to refresh the State's aging civil service with young graduates; firing of those 'elected' local government chairmen; brazen interference with management of educational, town unions and traditional rulers' institutions; creation of unconstitutional administrative structures and appointing his minions 'otimkpus' (Praise Singers) as advisers for everything that exists; and the daily drumbeat and unending campaign against his predecessor Gov. Ikedi Ohakim's legacy, at a time critical for him to firmly establish a governing doctrine. I, also, described his performance then as 'visible with little substance'. Fast forward to today, has anything changed? Yes.

They have not only gotten worse, but we now also know he is sadly a clown!

A clueless clown! How else would you characterize a governor who governs by weekly paid advertorial on AIT television, of totally irrelevant and obscenely wasteful events, such as birthday, daughter's wedding, social events that add no value to the quality of life of Imolites?

How else would you characterize a governor whose idea of development is the nonstrategic proliferation of hotels and brothels, pronouncement of policy initiatives without follow up, such as his hollow free education, haphazard construction of roads, hospitals, and schools?

How else would you characterize a governor who fraudulently recruited contractors without mobilization and payment, in violation of the Procurement Act thus financially incapacitating the contractors, and the commuters who find plying the roads now worse than ever?

How else would you characterize a governor of Imo State who secretly concessioned out public hospitals in Imo State to a Kaduna based company (Lantech Solutions Ltd., reportedly run by a friend of his Dr. Ibrahim)?

How else would you characterize a governor who is lawless, who despite several court verdicts directing him to allow 'elected' (although flawed) local government council chairmen to run the affairs of the councils, Gov. Okorocha refused to cooperate, he continued cornering and appropriating their resources thus crippling activities of the 27 LGAs?

How else would you characterize a governor of Imo State who thinks it is a great idea to introduce a non Igbo culture of doling out free money, not earned, such as the doling out of free One Hundred Naira (N100.00) monthly to primary school pupils rather than make them earn it through various forms of competition, creative projects or other productive endeavors?

How else would you characterize a governor who within one year, has changed the Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University three times, thereby impeding scholarship, academic freedom and discipline? How else would you characterize a governor whose news worthiness are when he is fraudulently grabbing lands, selfishly relocating commercial and public facilities and creating confusion at local levels with his ill-advised so called 4th tier of government?

How else would you characterize a governor who comingles affairs of his questionable Rochas Foundation with Imo State Affairs? How else would you characterize a governor who unilaterally declared a 2 week paid Christmas holidays for civil servants with the consequential impact on productivity?

How else would you characterize a governor whose glaring accomplishments, halfway through his first term, are lack of governing vision, chaos, planlessness, bogus projects and converting the State into Rochas Inc.?

Finally, how else would you characterize a governor who recently made a circus show out of a legitimate effort to probe his predecessor, by prejudicing his investigation by politically declaring his target guilty before constituting the panel of inquiry? Well you know my generous opinion already- a Clown is in charge at the Douglas House, but no one seems to be laughing. God help us!”

These observations of Governor Okorocha's administration were intended to induce course correction. It did not. Instead it took a turn for the worse, abandoning all pretensions, Okorocha instituted a “Famliocracy” also known as “My Family, My Family” governance; a dictatorship that brutalized and terrorized anyone that dared him; a “Lootocracy” that carted away most Imo State funds and individuals property for the benefit of Rochas and family. Within his one term he has borrowed on behalf of the 4 million Imo citizens over N200 Billion, hence putting a debt of N50,000 on each living Imo State citizen.

Umunnem Ndi Imo, it is true that no saint will govern Imo State, however we certainly do not deserve anyone with a track record of an “eze onye agwalam” complex, who is all about greed, theatrics and no substance and intimidation of the less privileged. It is therefore my candid opinion that Okorocha remains a clown that should not remain in the Douglas House and has to go. I urge all of us that come April 11, that we forceful and frontally display show him the RED CARD with a declaration of KA OPUO!

In this process we must also all shine our eyes and make the best choice for our dear State-someone who has requisite experience of our Federal system of government, is people oriented performer, a rock-solid administrator, decent, experienced, well connected, credible, and consistent and God fearing individual, that we can all trust and be proud of. God has provided us this opportunity for a fresh beginning let us take it!

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